A’s Prospect Zack Gelof Profiled as Another Brick in the Wall

A’s Prospect Zack Gelof Profiled as Another Brick in the Wall

Zack Gelof
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Zack Gelof doesn’t profile as a boom or bust prospect. Coming off a season in which he reached Triple-A at age 22, the University of Virginia product is almost a lock to perform on the big stage — not as a headliner, but as a solid contributor to a lineup that’s currently slated. along with Band-Aids. The low-budget Oakland Athletics need all the help they can get, so getting Gelof — the higher-capped Tyler Soderstrom — to the big leagues is an organizational priority.

Drafted 60th overall in 2021, Gelof slashed .270/.252/.463 with 18 home runs last season, with most of his action coming at Double-A Midland. The right-handed infielder added three more homers in the Arizona Fall League, and it’s his power ability that stands out the most to our top prospect analyst. When I asked Eric Longenhagen for a scouting report to get some insight on Gelof, he told me he’s “definitely an over-hit profile at this point,” adding that while his 70% contact rate wasn’t great, his “peak power. and barrel rates were very encouraging.”

When I asked Gelof for a self-report, he chose not to mention specific strengths, but his all-around skills and desire to improve.

“I would say I’m a very athletic player who likes to compete,” the Delaware native told me during his time in the AFL. “But I try not to think about who I am and who people want me to be. I just want to work on every area that I can. I want to perform on the field and be the best player I can be.”

When asked if he feels he’s better with the bat or the glove, Gelof said that while he considers the offense a strength, he’s also improving defensively. Drafted as a third baseman and moved to second base last season, Gelof is no wizard with the glove, but he is proving to be adept at the center field position. That’s not exactly surprising. Like most of his pro-ball contemporaries — the infielders’ fellowship, so to speak — he grew up playing shortstop. And the former A’s player – the team’s main target from 2004 to ’08 – plays an important role in the development of the young defense.

“Our manager here, Bobby Crosby, played a lot of years as an outfielder in the big leagues, so I talk to him a lot,” explained Gelof, who took an unexpected trip to the injured list midway through this season. thrown due to left shoulder sublexed. “I was with him in the Midlands as well — he was our manager there — and he has given me a lot of help with the transfer. Many of the activities are simplified to things like double-play feeds, double-play spins. Other than that, just make sure your hands are working with your feet, and that’s what everyone should be in.”

His approach to fighting pitchers is equally simple.

“I like to study hitting, but in the end, I’m a feel-too-tech guy,” explained Gelof, whose trip to IL cost him about six weeks. “I try to continue to find ways to improve and ultimately be tough at the plate. I’m going to work on things in the cage and have a good process, but when it comes to game time, I’m going to compete in the box. It’s me against the pitcher.”

Gelof’s power is emerging — he went over the wall just 16 times in three collegiate seasons — in part because of his load. When asked about adjustments, he said that developing a weight shift allowed him to do more damage. His foot lift has gotten a bit higher, although that is mostly by chance and not by design. Ditto that he has started catching more pitches out front.

“It’s not something I’m consciously trying to do,” Gelof said. “But when you actually get the ball, it’s like, ‘Oh, that’s it,’ so maybe I moved out forward a little bit more. At the same time, I do not want to put away what I can do to the other field. I want to continue to be a hitter who is gap to gap, foul pole to foul pole, and hitting line drives all over the field. If home runs happen, they happen. I just want to be known as a tough person.”

Gelof won’t need to produce light tower power to knock off a ring while wearing an Oakland uniform, but he will need to come off as the tough guy he wants to be. Again, he doesn’t profile as a star – Eric gave him a 45+ FV – but rather as another brick in the wall within a major league lineup. Given the state of the A’s rebuild, he should be a part of that foundation in the near future.

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